The World Championship continues behind closed doors inside the Crucible Theatre on Monday with three more sessions of action on a day where we will find out the identity of three more men for the second round line up.
It is a day where the stars come out to play with three world champions gracing the green baize and a whole host of talented players supporting them. We’ve seen plenty of tension and drama so far and it would be daft to expect anything different on Monday.
I’m sure everyone knows the format by now but for those who are unsure of it, it is long course snooker all the way over this 17 day marathon. The first round is the best-of-19 frames which goes up to the best-of-25 for the second round and the quarter finals. The semi-finals at the best-of-33 frames and then the four session final will see a champion crowned on the third Saturday and Sunday over the best-of-35 frames.
We saw yet more great snooker on Sunday and the three matches that finished saw John Higgins pull away from Matthew Stevens to beat him 10-5 while Kurt Maflin upset Dave Gilbert in a high quality encounter coming through 10-8 after both made a barrel load of centuries. Neil Robertson was a 10-5 winner over Liang Wenbo but the match was a lot closer than that at 5-5 before the Chinese player faded. In the two matches that started but didn’t finish Yan Bingtao leads Elliot Slessor 7-1 while Ronnie O’Sullivan raced into an 8-1 lead.
In Play Betting
We are very much keeping our eye on the in play betting throughout this tournament but we won’t be getting involved in the in play matches on Monday as both are being dominated by the seeded player. I was tempted by Slessor on a handicap but Bingtao isn’t one for bottling anything. O’Sullivan is too far ahead of Un-Nooh to merit a bet in that match and given that we are hoping for a century to bring the Sunday double in there isn’t a huge need to get involved in that either. I’m happy enough to sit these matches out.
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Jack Lisowski vs Anthony McGill (Monday 10am & 7pm)
The match which will begin on table one in the morning and then play to a conclusion in the evening on Monday happens to be the tightest match of the first round according to the odds going into them when Jack Lisowski meets Anthony McGill for the right to take on either Mark Allen or Jamie Clarke in the second round.
I’m on McGill outright and for his quarter and I think he’s in a decent shape going into this match I have to say. He played very well in qualifying and the fact he has those matches under his belt will serve him well. Lisowski didn’t look brilliant at the Championship League and in truth you never know what you are going to get from him. He’s as talented as they come technique wise but when the going gets tough he’s often nowhere to be seen. These two met in the China Championship earlier in the season and McGill won and given that he is likely to handle the pressure the better if this gets tight I think the Scot is worth backing here even allowing for the other bets I have on him.
Shaun Murphy vs Noppon Saengkham (Monday 2.30pm & Tuesday 10am)
The former champion of this tournament Shaun Murphy begins his quest for a second world title on Monday afternoon when he takes on Noppon Saengkham over the best of 19 frames for a place in the last 16 in Sheffield.
Murphy has had a great season and even though he lost early in the Tour Championship, it shouldn’t be forgotten that he made six centuries in that match against Mark Allen so it wasn’t like he was bad by any means. Murphy will probably want to do it for his friend Brandon Parker who passed away recently and I’m expecting a really strong showing from him. Noppon Saengkham has been here before so he is entitled to lay down a decent challenge to Murphy in this match.
You can get even money on Murphy to make more than 1.5 centuries in this match and that will do me. I mentioned that he made six tons against Mark Allen at the Tour Championship and in fairness to him he has been scoring heavily all season. Sometimes he can be guilty of losing his focus but with no crowds in or anything I expect his scoring to be relentless. I expect Murphy to win so to do it with a couple of tons makes sense.
Mark Selby vs Jordan Brown (Monday 7pm & Tuesday 2.30pm)
The other world champion on show on Monday is Mark Selby and he will start his quest for a fourth win in this tournament when he takes on the debutant from Northern Ireland in Jordan Brown, a player who is highly rated in some quarters.
This is the first time these two men will have met in their career so we might see a bit of feeling each other out. I’d also like to see how Selby is playing anyway before I guess which way this one is going to go. My gut feeling is that this one will be closer than the bookmakers suggest with Brown being match sharp and Selby offering two poor runs in the Championship League and Tour Championship, but I’ll have a look at the first session and then assess it from here.
WON – Back A.McGill to beat J.Lisowski for a 3/10 stake at 2.35 with 888sport
Back S.Murphy – Over 1.5 centuries for a 3/10 stake at 2.00 with Betfair
Back him here: